Direct Acoustics collaborated with Tilgate Park, a council-owned recreational park located in West Sussex, to develop a sustainable acoustic mitigation solution that would help them obtain planning permission for a permanent marquee. The goal was to meet the high demand for weddings at the park while addressing the challenge of controlling sound levels for nearby residents living just 200m away.Continue reading
New Weddings Law
New Weddings Law - Final Report Submitted
The Law Commission of England and Wales has published its final report into reforming the law of weddings. The recommendations, if approved by the government, will allow couples to get married in a wider range of locations, including temporary structures.
Why the report has been made
According to the report, in 2019 just under 220,000 marriages occurred in England and Wales and the governing body believes this is because the main marriage law, dating from 1836, has failed to keep pace with modern life.
Currently the two options for a wedding are:
- A religious wedding in a place of worship.
- A civil wedding in a licensed secular venue.
What the report is recommending
Convenience is at the heart of this report, with recommendations on who can get married, who can solemnise weddings, simplified legal requirements and where weddings can take place.
What does this mean for venues that want to hold weddings?
This is great news for venues that are wanting to incorporate a temporary or permanent outdoor structure. Ceremonies will now be able to take place fully outdoors or under a partially covered structure. The outside areas of the location will be assessed to ensure the venue is ‘Seemly and Dignified’. The scheme would allow couples to host their wedding ceremony in any type of location so long as their officiant agrees.
In order to hold legal outdoor weddings and civil partnership registrations, a venue must be an Approved Premises or must become an Approved Premises under the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005, as amended. Existing Approved Premises will be permitted to use any outdoor areas in the venue for civil wedding and civil partnership registrations without having to re-apply for approval, subject to certain conditions.
You will still need a premises licence and personal licence to sell alcohol.
What happens next
The report was submitted in July and it will be the new government that approves the plan before the changes come into force.
However, if you have seen the demand for weddings and ceremonies rise, and are thinking about adding a temporary structure such as a tipi or a marquee onto your property, it’s an excellent time to seriously consider making that investment. Extending your event business in this way will give you the opportunity to have multiple events at your premises at one time.
Whilst this change in the law gives wedding planners much more flexibility, it’s worth noting that there are still a number of hoops to jump through when installing a temporary event structure on your property.
Planning permission: You can get away without planning permission if you use a marquee that is up for less than 28 days during the year – but with the time taken to set up events that equates to a handful of occasions. When you set up a wedding venue your planning application has to cover the issue of noise. If you disturb your neighbours with music and the sounds of celebrations, you will get complaints. Especially if it happens repeatedly. Complaints can escalate to local authorities and could result in fines, enforcement notices and the withdrawal of licences.
Public Liability Insurance: You must have public liability insurance, and to carry out a health and safety risk assessment preferably by a qualified consultant.
Direct Acoustic Solutions are experts in this niche field, having gone through the process many times. We will guide you through and conduct noise impact assessment before providing bespoke noise solutions to enable you to get the most out of your temporary structure and grow your events business.
The report has now been published, you can read it here, and the final step is for the government to approve it.
Ibiza Party Tipi
This summer, the team headed to Ibiza to install our Zone Array directional speaker system for a party tipi in a residential villa.Continue reading
The Ferry House
The Ferry House
Demonstration to installation
On the Isle of Sheppey resides the gorgeous Ferry House, a 16th-century venue that has been lovingly restored to preserve its heritage and country character. Ferry House offers a rustic oak barn and a waterside oak gazebo with a perfect panorama overlooking the private gardens and sea estuary, as well as a stunning events suite.
Here at Direct Acoustics, we were delighted to have the pleasure of proposing a sustainable acoustic mitigation solution fitting the events marquee with our most advanced flagship technologies to significantly reduce the breakout of amplified music whilst still maintaining high-quality audio.
To prove concept, and ensure the acoustic impact at the residential dwelling positioned 186m away was significantly reduced, whilst also improving upon disturbance generated within the Ferry House’s hotel rooms which are in very close proximity to the events marquee, Direct Acoustics undertook a demonstration of our 64x panel Zone Array directional speaker system.
This cold winter’s demo proved the Zone Array could meet pertinent acoustic criteria in the quietest conditions at the nearest receptor, but to see a significant improvement inside the venue’s hotel rooms just 30m away, an additional mass barrier would be required in the form of our MAL22 acoustic lining.
The Ferry House hosts over 70 events per year in the quiet & flat landscape of the Isle of Sheppey
A MAL22 acoustic lining enclosure and 64x panel Zone Array dedicated to containing both amplified and non amplified noise sources to a dedicated area.
Hosting back to back weddings whilst vastly reducing the acoustic impact on not just the neighbours but also on the venues own hotel rooms a matter of metres away.
Our MAL22 lining has a broad spectrum reduction rating of 22dB Rw, which is a huge reduction considering a 20dB noise reduction would reduce the perceived noise by level 75%.
March 2022 saw Direct Acoustics begin our installation at The Ferry House, initially installing our MAL22 acoustic lining into the walls, roof and gable-end of the venue’s HTS TENTIQ clearspan marquee creating a dancefloor enclosure with a single open-fronted end.
The purpose of the enclosure is to deflect and contain noise generated from reaching both receptors positioned behind the dancefloor but will still allow guests, situated in the marquee to walk in and out of the enclosure freely.
To gain additional control of amplified music, our Zone Array system was implemented inside this acoustic enclosure along with a Symetrix Prism Process Limiter. Every unique solution we provide ensures control takes priority and disturbance at nearby residential dwellings becomes a non-issue. Whilst the Zone Array localises low frequency onto the dancefloor, our installed limiters manipulate every frequency and volume level emitted through each individual speaker to ensure the system does not cause complaints.
Perfect for venue-operators looking to take back control and grow their business with more frequent late-night events, whilst leaving the environment and neighbours in peace.
Did you know?
Aesthetically our Zone Array system can be invisible to guests, its slim 70mm thickness means it can be installed and hidden behind the lining of the events marquee, allowing the venue to keep control of its curated aesthetic.
Want to know more? Give us a call, we love having a chat
A discreetly hidden speaker system for a new multi-floored members club in Knightsbridge run by Wilderness Reserve.
A digital signal process (DSP) limiter isn’t just the perfect solution to limit noise breakout, but it also provides a platform to ZONE your venue and give you back control.
Imagine creating little hot spots of sound dedicated to your clientele and the specific area they are using, or having the ability to switch at a moment’s notice from a chilled day time office vibe over to a Friday night party vibe.
Following on from working with Wilderness Reserve’s Sibton Park and the newly commissioned Chapel Barn, our most recent collaboration was with their sister city brand, Pavilion Club.
Known as a high end members club providing secluded meeting rooms, hushed collaborative working spaces and lively DJ sets across the city, Direct Acoustics were commissioned as the audio supplier for their multi-floored venue, Knightsbridge Pavillion.
A landmark Grade II Listed former bank was chosen to become home to London’s most luxury offices, designed to make business a pleasure with private meeting rooms, hot desks and soundproof booths over three floors, combined with cocktail bars, restaurant, a library and an impressive roof terrace overlooking Hyde Park.
Direct Acoustics challenge was to not just to zone all three floors, enabling separate audio inputs and varying volume levels throughout, but also dedicated hot spots of audio within specific meeting rooms with TV and conferencing capabilities.
The audio system had to be designed so that music was present but it did not draw the eye, with discreet speakers concealed wherever possible, whilst also maintaining a very high quality of sound. The frequency response of each speaker had to be full-range at a low level whilst also having the capacity to switch over to a night time setting providing the ability to produce high level music that DJ’s enjoy performing with.
Speakers were concealed in wall and ceiling cavities, furniture and even outdoor weatherproof speakers used within the roof terrace floor pots. Where speakers couldn’t be hidden, Custom RAL finishes and a sublimation process was applied to match that of the facade they were positioned on.
Day-to-day operation with the system interfaces was refined with the Pavilion team during a commissioning process, to ensure usability was as simple as it could be, allowing for natural staff turnover.
Versatility, adaptability and control were the key elements to the success of this installation – all provided by a single Digital Process Limiter.
Whether you are looking to limit your audio output from disturbing your neighbours, want to distribute sound throughout an entire venue, or simply just need to add a level of control to your existing speaker system, your options are endless with our DSP set ups.
No matter the project, get in touch for some independent advice.
Corporate Christmas Parties
Awesome Events is a leader in the events industry, hosting and organising the best in conferences, summer parties, christmas parties, awards and much more. Awesome Events, part of the Awesome Group, offers an all in one events solution providing everything from quirky venues to bespoke stages and set builds, as well as A/V solutions and full event management.
Run by Denis McCourt, the Awesome team first approached Direct Acoustics back in 2009 upon acquiring their first venue in Bloomsbury, in which they wanted to develop it into an events space using a big top circus tent and clearspan marquee over a six week Christmas period. Awesome was keen to run back-to-back shared and exclusive corporate Christmas parties and needed a proven sound solution to keep Camden council, and his Bloomsbury neighbours, happy.
Preventing amplified music from not just bleeding between two venues a matter of metres apart but also meeting Camden Council’s inaudibility target at the nearest noise sensitive receptors, situated just 45m away.
Prove the concept to the Awesome Events team and Camden Council Environmental Health Department & then implement multiple Zone Array installations within two central London venues.
Planning and licensing permission granted and a decade of successful Christmas corporate event runs.
The venue itself had historic amplified music noise complaints and due to the sheer size of the space (2000 capacity) plus the clever way that Awesome had split it up into four spaces, meant that multiple office Christmas parties could be hosted at any one time. Unsurprisingly multiple events playing separate DJ sets at the same time was always going to be a challenge to control.
To prove the effectiveness of our equipment, specifically our Zone Array directional speaker system, we had proposed that Direct Acoustics set up a demonstration of the Zone Array within the Bloomsbury Coram’s Fields, without any structure in place to show the Awesome team and Camden Council how the system performed in a worst case scenario.
Being in the centre of town, there was a consistently high L90 background ambient due to the nonstop hustle and bustle generated from passing traffic – which played into our favour during the demonstration. The venue is surrounded on all four sides by residential dwellings and student housing, the latter being just 45m from the venue source and so deemed by the council as the most noise sensitive location. A combination of the high background level and the significant directionality of the Zone Array proved amplified music to be inaudible at the student housing.
Once Camden Council signed the Zone Array off as a feasible mitigation solution, Awesome Events committed to installing a number of our systems into their Big Top Circus Tent, and also into the neighbouring Fountain Room, to allow the team to run two events simultaneously and successfully for the last decade.
The Awesome team is constantly on the hunt for additional London sites to grow their corporate Christmas market. Our Zone Array has now provided the ability to open up a potential pool of sites which before the Awesome team may not have considered as they feel safe in the knowledge that our technology will meet the required noise criteria to host their long event runs.
Ever wondered what makes a cracking Christmas corporate party? Head over to our latest blog post for a few pointers.
Our team are always happy to chat so why don’t you give us a call?
Bespoke Directional Speaker Systems
Venue trends within the wedding industry are so diverse and ever-changing, so throughout the last few years Direct Acoustics have recognized the need to adapt & improve our offering within its speaker design.
The aim of this article is to share our experiences working with a range of beautiful interior-focussed venues and elevate any worries on how we could incorporate a Zone Array, or conventional PA for that matter, into your venue.
Before we can get into the creative stuff, it’s important to share how Zone Array came to fruition along with the general manufacturing process of the system.
The constructive and destructive concept Zone Array adopts to control and attenuate low frequency was first developed in Sweden in 1989 where a variety of different sized speaker drivers were screwed to plywood sheets. In the mid nineties there were some advancements with 2mm mild steel front plates replacing the ply and itchy ISO wool installed to the rear to try and negate any high frequency emitted out of the rear of the drivers.
When Direct Acoustics was founded in 2007, it was clear the previous concept we had seen needed to be evolved to make the system accessible to all venue types, including marquees and temporary structures.
The biggest limiting factor was the weight. The plywood and mild steel concepts were simply too heavy to be installed into many venues safely so we began to develop the Zone Array into a lightweight advancement using 0.7mm aluminium front plates with a 33% open area (acoustically transparent) perforation pattern. Solid aluminum returns now allowed for a back plate to be pop riveted onto the rear encasing the speaker drivers and melamine foam absorption into a complete panel.
We now had a product that could conform with windshear and weight loading calculations placed upon even the smallest 9m wide clear span marquee frame, Tipis & old barns allowing a variety of unique installs to take place over our decade in the industry.
The UK boasts an assortment of barns throughout the country with Sussex oak in the south, Tithe Long barns in Essex and traditional granite & slate Linhay’s in Cornwall. So how have we catered for these over the years?
A beautiful rural estate & award winning vineyard in North West Essex which was once home to Anne of Cleves. Here the Zone Array is installed horizontally on steel wires giving the impression that the system is floating above the dancefloor and ceremony area. To tie the Zone Array into the 14th Century barn, the Zone Array was scabbed in oak with a white acoustically transparent skrim stretched along the face.
A traditional Dutch-style barn with curved tin roof, internal exposed steel beams and exterior timber clad, Alcumlow Barn is as rustic as they come. Following that interior trend and without the need to worry about weight loading, the Zone Array swapped back over to a mild steel chassis with the raw components i.e face/back plates and framework were all dipped in patina and left to naturally rust over a few wet English weeks!
Park Farm Barn is a contemporary take on the above barns after being impeccably restored in 2020. The Barn and The Little Barn can be let separately or jointly to create a multi-functional space for groups or families, sleeping 14 in total.
The Zone Array is the focal point of the main barn installed 4 metres above the lounge come dancefloor during private events.
Timber clad aluminium bearers were used to span the distance between the horizontal beams and four 5mm steel wires dead hung to suspend the Zone Array. Seb, our lead sound engineer, put his sewing skills to the test to produce a hessian cover, in keeping with the aesthetics. Rachael, Park Farm Barn’s owner finished it all off perfectly with an impressive foliage installation.
Oak Tree Farm & The Oak Grove
Stretch tents are predominantly found put up across London pub gardens & bars but they are becoming increasingly popular within the wedding scene. Both Oak Tree Farm and The Oak Grove saw this coming back in 2018 and began setting up venues that would stand out from the rest.
Whilst stretch tents are free flowing in their design, they do pose a bit of a problem when it comes to rigging a Zone Array within them. The canvas relies on multiple poles of varying heights to lift it off the ground and provide cover, however these poles are not structural loading as they are designed to partially sway with the canvas.
Therefore to incorporate a directional speaker system a ground support steel frame is required. The four legs of the frame sit side by side with the vertical stretch tent poles to keep the structure as open as possible with a horizontal bar connecting back to a central pole.
Each Zone Array was colour coded to match that of the specific canvas chosen and left to be decorated how the guests or venue saw fit.
Tipis will never grow old!
Fortunately after collaborating with Tentipi, Direct Acoustics had the solution to cope with market demand.
Utilising a bespoke steel rigging rose suspended from the central peak of the tipi’s nine structural poles our engineers fly adjustable steel wires down to loading points within a rigid aluminium frame. Once the system’s weight is balanced using eight adjustable steel eyelets, which also allow us to horizontally level off the system. Due to the materials used and the position of all pick up points, the Zone Array can float within the structure, preserving the traditional aesthetics that a Tipi provides.
All tipi Zone Array systems and background speakers can be colour coded to match that of the specific canvas purchased whether that be from Tentipi, Kata tipi or others.
If you are thinking about tipis then head over to your Tentipi case study to find out more.
Tell us about your venue...
If you think the Zone Array is the right acoustic solution but are unsure how it could be incorporated into your bespoke venue then let’s have a chat about your options.
The year the world went quiet.
Cars, trains, airplanes, and even self propulsion all contribute to the general hubbub of life which leaves a constant impression on the earth via tiny vibrations measured through the earth’s shell, known as seismic noise.
However, since we have all been told to stay at home over the last 18 months, the din of daily life has lessened leading to ‘Global Quieting’. A term coined by National Geographic. Global Quieting is perhaps one of the lesser heard COVID-19 phrases but one that we have all experienced as a consequence of worldwide national lockdowns.
UK & Europe have been subject to a 90% reduction in air traffic.
A month into lockdown saw rail and tube use down by more than 95%.
The Royal Observatory of Belgium reported that this seismic noise, measured via a global network of 24/7 seismometers registers, saw the longest period of seismic dampening ever recorded.
The reduction of road traffic noise has not only left a physical impact below our feet but interestingly acousticians have been finding through their lockdown gathered data that ambient noise levels have fallen by as much as 10dB, which is roughly perceived as halving of subjective loudness.
This unprecedented phenomenon might be giving us a short term gain, but this is not expected to become a long-term benefit. Noise pollution is directly linked to economic activity therefore as we emerge from our sofas it is generally expected that the planet will be woken from its hushed state.
But what happens in the meantime? As we have mentioned, the drop in ambient noise levels in our everyday lives has made us more sensitive to noise. Now that we can venture out, how will the general public respond to noise disturbances that perhaps pre COVID-19 they wouldn’t have even noticed?
University of Cardiff Psychologist Andrew Smith “We adapt to living in noisy environments, but it only takes a slight change – a period of quiet – to find that very distracting. And I think there will be an adverse reaction to the return of noise – not just greater annoyance, but less efficiency at work, in education, in our sleep, as well as more chronic effects.”
Predictably, if we find noise more distracting and frustrating because of our increased sensitivity to it, noise complaints will rise making it harder for venues and events to obtain licenses they need or maintain good relationships with residential neighbours.
What does this mean for venues?
After 18 months of not being able to operate, most event-led venues are condensing two years worth of events into a year. Not only is this in some cases pushing them beyond their planning & licensing conditions, as most have a certain number of events they can host per annum, but it also carries them over into a category of stricter acoustic criteria to meet.
Planning criteria and acoustic guidance follows a scale determined by the number of events held: the more events the less disturbance that can take place.
The Code of Practice on Environmental Noise Control at Concerts (CPENCC) is generally used throughout the UK and considered the most pertinent set of guidance to follow. It outlines the following:
To sum up, venues are caught between a rock and hard place. Not only are they having to host more events this year than any other year, but their neighbours are likely to be more noise-sensitive than ever before after becoming acclimatised to less hubbub outside of the occasional bird song!
It is, therefore, essential for venues to make sure they are well within the above criteria for noise levels, especially when planning to boost events.
Here at Direct Acoustics we have helped many clients fire fight over the last few months and decade , to prepare themselves for a throng of backdated events which may push them over the threshold unexpectedly. We have a number of noise solutions and are experts in understanding how to avoid complaints and get licensing approval. If you are concerned or need some guidance, contact the team today and we can discuss the best course of action to ensure you are compliant.
Want to check you are still compliant?
We would be happy to sit down and discuss any questions you may have.
The Hawks Nest
The Hawks Nest
Whilst 2020 has, unfortunately, seen many venues have to close their doors, there have been a few new ventures giving it ago and during Christmas last year we were asked to consult on an exciting, trendy new venue in Shepherd’s Bush London: The Hawk’s Nest.
A wicked concept; outdoor cocktail bar meets pizzeria, the Hawk’s Nest consists of an indoor area and outdoor covered seating area full of flowers and vast wall art in an open and covered seating area.
Running parallel to the railway line, to the west of the Hawk’s Nest at a higher level is a block of flats. The flats were the nearest residential dwellings and were unsurprisingly at risk of being disturbed by patron noise.
An outside venue looking to achieve planning permission, needing to control the general hubbub of people noise in a relatively residential area of West London, with close proximity to flats in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
MAL16 marquee acoustic linings to line the roof of the structure and contain noise within the covered seating area.
Planning and license permission granted and the continuation of a successful business relationship.
To get a handle on the level of work required to combat any noise pollution and to help us analyse and suggest a mitigation strategy, Direct Acoustics gathered underlying data when the venue was open and when it was closed. Over the 10 hour period that the venue was open, an average 64.8dB LAeq was established compared to over the same period when the venue was closed, an average of 51.5dB LAeq.
To meet reasonable internal bedroom target levels as set out by World Health Organisation (WHO) of 35dBA LAeq and considering their statement: “It should be noted that it should be possible to sleep with a bedroom window slightly open (a reduction from outside to inside of 15 dB)” the goal for The Hawk’s Nest was to not exceed an average of 50dB LAeq and the property facade during the venue’s operational hours.
Mitigation Measures – Marquee Acoustic Linings
Considering the 15dB broadspectrum reduction required, Direct Acoustics proposed the implementation of our MAL16 acoustic linings to be installed into the roof and gable ends of the existing marquee. As the structure of the marquee was constructed within two large brick 4m + walls, linings were not needed in the walls, unlike typical marquee set ups.
Once the lockdown had lifted, it was happy drinking for the punters of West London!
About Our Marquee Acoustic linings
The acoustic linings that we manufacture are highly proficient at containing sound within any structure. The MAL range which we used at The Hawks Nest is specifically designed for and fabricated to slide directly into the structural frame of the marquee. This lining provides a high degree of control to non-amplified sounds such as the laughter, cheering and chinking of glass found in any bar.
We manufacture our acoustic linings in two weights dependent on the sound reduction required:
MAL16 (2.6kg/m2) – 16dB Rw
MAL22 (6.9kg/m2) – 22dB Rw
The composite make-up employed utilises both absorption and mass to create the most effective acoustic marquee lining available. After spending years researching and developing sound solutions, Direct Acoustics now manufactures our own line of acoustic and thermal linings at our workshop in Sussex. The linings are unparalleled in the industry and have undergone UKAS accredited lab tests to identify their frequency specific sound reduction index.
If you would like to find out more, get in touch with the team today.
Think acoustic linings are the solution for you?
Ashley Park House
In Ireland the bands play late and they play booming loud! Direct Acoustics have been working over there since our first Zone Array install at Clonabreany House back in 2010.
What we have learnt is that you can’t soundproof the marquee enough to satisfy an Irish band. They want a true 100dB LAeq(t15min) music noise level on the dance-floor from 22.00 until at least 02.00.
The low frequency content at 63Hz will have you shaking as it peaks at 115dB LZeq!
One venue struggling to contain an Irish band’s presence asked us to take a look. After a number of tests and discussions, we came up with a solution.
And a lot of it. 12.5 tonnes to be exact.
You, as we did, are probably asking yourself: can a temporary marquee structure really take that much weight?
It turns out it can.
The project was signed off by two world leading structural engineers. Yes, it needs some (to say the least) reinforcement but a Roder HTS 15m P Series Marquee can take two tonnes per bay with some clever engineering.
The concrete has been installed under a bespoke tuned rubber isolation to stop any vibrations generated through structural borne transmission and therefore potentially causing more issues. See our Soundproofing Fundamentals blog to understand how rubber can help.
Our acoustic model predicted a 33dB Rw but more impressively it was removing 19dB of 50Hz of bass amp nastiness. Couple this with our Highly Directional Zone Array and U2 could play in this place and you wouldn’t hear it outside!
This is the third concrete roof we have installed, but the first one in an aluminium framed marquee. Take a look at the last one we did back in 2018 over in Malta.
There are no limits for these bands. Rock on!